America should shield these 5 applied sciences whether it is to stay a superpower, intelligence officers warn

WASHINGTON – US intelligence agencies have issued a strong warning: America’s status as a global superpower depends on maintaining a lead in five key technologies – and America’s rivals are trying to steal each of them.

Officials said they were concerned that foreign theft of American technology could not only deprive the United States of economic leadership in key sectors, but even threaten the country’s ability to remain active in the industries in the first place.

The five technologies identified by intelligence officials are:

Officials cited legal and illegal activities, particularly China’s, that cripple competitiveness in sectors like steel and solar panels. As an example, they cited China’s extinction of the Australian rail industry.

“We don’t want what happened in these other industries to happen here,” said Michael Orlando, acting director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, which reports to the director of the National Intelligence Service. When asked what the impact would be if the US lost supremacy, he said, “It could be serious. We have to focus on these industries because we can’t afford to lose them.”

In a new report, the NCSC wrote that “These sectors are producing technologies that can determine whether America will remain the world’s leading superpower or be dwarfed by strategic competitors for the next several years.”

In every area, officials said, opposing nations have used a mix of legal and illegal methods – from hiring talent to mergers and acquisitions, to hacking and old-fashioned espionage – to steal and replicate American technology.

Over the past few months, officials have briefed a small group of executives and academics of the dangers to their research. Now that the report is out, officials plan to contact industry and universities more aggressively.

Officials said many private sector business leaders fail to realize that the reach they get from Chinese and Russian companies for everything from joint ventures and partnerships to mergers and acquisitions is part of a national strategy by these governments to acquire these technologies and to replace the American companies that produce them.

Intelligence agencies fear that US companies will not only lose their lead, but will be completely displaced from the technology sectors that are crucial for the 21st century.

“It’s not just about the loss of intellectual property, it’s about the loss of an entire business model,” said Edward You, the NCSC’s national counterintelligence officer for emerging and disruptive technologies. He said the vulnerability in health technology is particularly acute. “Because of our short-sightedness, maybe one day we will wake up to find that we have become addicted to health cracks and that China has become our driver.”

Their goal is to explain to corporations and universities that they have been hit by a sophisticated and often underhanded effort by foreign governments to get away with valuable technology – and that some transactions that seem like simple business deals are more dangerous in the country.

“People are struggling to understand the big picture here and the way that legal and illegal come together,” Orlando said. Any single business could be attractive for its individual merits, but American business leaders should understand that those offers are not made because of the merits.

“It wasn’t just because it was a good investment,” he said. “It was because it was part of this bigger plan.”

However, intelligence officials were reluctant to recommend “decoupling” the US and Chinese economies or stopping the influx of students and staff from China and Russia, knowing that working together can be mutually beneficial.

A common cause for concern is that the United States is losing its ability to design and manufacture its own biological and medical care supply chain – a vulnerability that became all too apparent during the Covid-19 pandemic and could get worse during the next . after you.

“We depend on them,” he said. “You could develop a countermeasure before others do. An effective defense is synonymous with an offensive. You can withhold supplies like with masks. You all have strategic advantages.”

Artificial intelligence

The report found that China “has the power, talent and ambition to outperform the US as the world leader in AI in the next decade, if current trends don’t change.” Officials cited the U.S. 2020 indictment of two Chinese hackers working with the Chinese Department of State Security for their involvement in a ten-year hacking campaign against a variety of Western targets, including a UK-based AI company.

Officials also expressed concern about Russia, citing MIT’s 2019 announcement to renew its partnership with Russia’s Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology and the Skolkovo Foundation. MIT said the partnership will focus on “strengthening research collaborations between faculty members of the two institutions.”

American officials pointed out that the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Viktor Vekselberg, head of the Skolkovo Foundation, in 2018. (The university removed him from its board of trustees after the sanctions were announced.)

Quantum computing

The intelligence community report noted that quantum computers – which can, in principle, use the unique properties of atoms and photons to solve certain problems much faster than ordinary computers – will bring national security and economic challenges with them.

“A large quantum computer could potentially enable the decryption of the most widely used cybersecurity protocols and compromise the infrastructure that protects today’s economic and national security communications,” the report said.

In the race to develop practical quantum computers, officials said the winner will have a tremendous strategic advantage. The report found that foreign competitors are recruiting American experts to advance their own quantum programs.

“Anyone who buys a quantum computer can crack any encryption system we have here,” said Orlando. “And quantum radars can detect our stealth planes and submarines.”

Life sciences

Officials were particularly critical of China’s WuXi Biologics, which bought Bayer’s manufacturing facility in Germany, Pfizer’s manufacturing facility in China and CMAB Biopharma Group in China. The Chinese company is also building production facilities in Delaware, Massachusetts and Ireland.

Because of the company’s enormous manufacturing capabilities, American life science companies that make vaccines and other biotechnological products may use Chinese controlled plants by default. “You don’t have to steal our intellectual property anymore,” You said.

“If you want to scale manufacturing, we are dependent on Chinese manufacturing, so we have to give them the IP [to produce the products]. “


The fragility of the semiconductor supply chain is well known, but the report found that the US is heavily dependent on a single company in Taiwan. It also found that adversaries can gain access to the supply chain and insert compromised chips into US trade and defense systems.

Officials highlighted a wave of Chinese acquisitions in this area, including the purchase of South Korean MagnaChip by Chinese private equity firm Wise Road Capital March for $ 1.4 billion.

Autonomous systems

The report concluded that autonomous systems also pose a potential security threat by expanding the type of attack targets for hackers and by collecting a tremendous amount of data on drivers in the US.

Officials cited a September report that the Chinese illegally purchased an Italy-based military drone company to collect autonomous technology. Officials marked the 2019 arrest of a former Apple employee who was charged with stealing secrets from Apple’s autonomous vehicles to give them to a Chinese competitor.

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